Let’s chat audition prep.

For a long time the only thing I rehearsed when I was getting ready for my audition were the pieces themselves. I’d show up and deliver what I’d perfected in my living room. But I continued to be disappointed, because what was coming out at auditions was not what I knew I was capable of. I found the adrenaline rush nearly impossible to get under control — it was as if on the day of the audition a team of wild horses hitched themselves to my mindbody and all I could do was pray the horses ended up in vaguely the direction I was hoping for.

My experience of auditioning shifted when I started rehearsing not only the monologues themselves, but the entire audition experience, from start to finish. I’ve found that this gives me a better chance of finding presence in the audition room, because it builds muscle-memory of the ways I grounded myself (or, the ways that I calmed myself) when there wasn’t a team of wild horses trying to throw me off.

Three horses with their noses close to the camera.
Let me explain:

✨ I start with practicing what I’m going to say to myself the moment before I get called in. I practice and try out various motivations, like, “Ok you brilliant fire-muffin, get in there and kick some ass” and I pay attention to how they resonate in my body (I find that something silly, like calling myself a ‘brilliant fire-muffin’ makes me laugh and helps calm me down).

✨ Then, I practice walking into the room (as best I can in my small space) and what I want to be thinking about during that cross. Am I reminding myself that this audition is just another opportunity to do that thing I fell in love with when I was 5? Or remembering what the achievable goal was that I set myself? Maybe I’m just feeling my feet as they press against the floor.

✨ When I land on my spot, I let myself take a slow breath before anything else happens. This is MY time.

✨ I practice looking at the wall and identifying my eye anchors: “Ok, Ophelia is going to talk to that grey stain, which is Hamlet. In my second piece, I’ll shift my gaze to that chair, that’s where my character’s father is sitting.”

✨ Then, and only then, do I speak. I practice saying my name like I love it. Or, if it’s feeling hard to love my name that day, I say my name remembering why I love this craft.

✨ I announce my pieces, and I start getting excited because I LOVE these pieces.

✨ And in the pause before I begin, I replay in my mind the SPARK that drives Ophelia to say her first line: “Its that dumb, bored look on his face, ooh it gets me every time, I’m gonna wipe that dumb look off his dumb face —” BOOM. And I say my first line driven by this fire. This NEED to speak.

A woman screaming in frustration.
If you’re looking at the breakdown above and thinking to yourself, ‘Boy howdy that is A LOT,’ you’re not wrong! It IS a lot. When you first begin slowing down your audition experience in this way, it can feel overwhelming. But remember that when you first started acting, you probably couldn’t do some of the things that you’re able to do now. You integrated new information into your practice a little bit at a time.

So don’t integrate all of these bits at once. Pick three or four, and start there. I had you in mind when I chose four starting points for this process, and created the acronym ‘MESS’ to help you remember:

Motivation: What will you say to motivate yourself before you are called in?

Eye Anchors: Identify where you will deliver your monologues before you start.

Slow breath: Remind yourself you’re allowed to take up this space. This is YOUR time.

Spark: Replay in your minds’ eye the SPARK which drives your character to speak.

There is nothing more alive than being a messy human. Embrace the MESS, and aliveness will come. (see what I did there? *insert eye roll emoji*)

A sunset over a body of water, with text that reads: Motivation, Eye Anchors, Slow breath, Spark!
Ok ok ok ok. Now I want to hear from you. What’s your audition prep? How do you stay calm, centered, and present in your auditions? What are your tricks?

Send in your wisdom and I’ll put it in the ‘Rest & Love in Creative Living’ email newsletter, so all of us can benefit!

Until then, seek ease and rest today.

With love,